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January 9, 2008

Our Man In New Hampshire #7: The Chelsea Factor

This is the seventh in a 72-hour series of campaign dispatches from photojournalist and BNN Contributer Alan Chin, with an extra dose of post-election analysis by The BAG.

(Click any image to expand)

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Alan Chin filed two sets of Clinton photos with BAGnewsNotes leading up to last night’s New Hampshire primary.

Interestingly, one group was from the first day, and the other, from the last day of the campaign.  I understand that there are advantages and disadvantages in looking at these with the results already in, so please excuse the Monday (or Wednesday) morning quarterbacking.

If one can use the Chin pictures as a representative sample, there are a couple deductions to be drawn.  First and foremost, as compared to any of the other candidates, it seems the Clinton campaign maintains very tight control over access.  About half the supply Alan captured offered a vantage similar to the one above.

What I was most interested in thinking out, however, given Alan’s set, was what happened between last Saturday, after the Clinton campaign had been battered in Iowa, and this Monday, the day before Hillary’s poll-trashing New Hampshire rise from the ashes.

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Based on the material on hand (which included no emotional roundtable discussions nor any mid-debate depiction of hurt feelings), I would have to say that the difference — over and between those two days — was primarily familial.

In addition to the sign-toting women at Saturday’s sparsely attended campaign rally at the Nashua airport, Bill Clinton was a primary presence.  (I elaborated on the problematic nature of this — just like much of the media did — way back on Friday at The BAG.)  Peculiarly, Alan’s sequence catches Bubba in the pose of a field general, as if reprising his charge to the bridge to the 21st Century.

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In comparison, Alan’s best image from election eve day was the shot above from a rally for canvassers in a Manchester parking lot.  (Bill, by the way, was not in attendance.)

When you include the woman pushing out the platform, the image provides the sense that the campaign is now totally infused with girl power.  More significantly though, we see Chelsea  — like a beacon — visually aligned with that platform.

If Alan Chin, rather than moving on to the Edwards campaign, had continued to follow Clinton that day, I’m convinced we would have an elegant and larger body of evidence that Chelsea, rather than Bill, had become the campaign’s new inspiration (not to mention, its co-star).

Falling back on the visual media, however, you might check out this image which I set aside on Saturday, thinking it not only captured a powerful solidarity between mother and daughter, but between mother, daughter and the spirited representative of a key demographic.

Skipping to first thing Monday morning, look at this shot from a NYT Hillary Road Show (taking note of the announcement-like caption).  Also, consider the expansive gesture in this Reuters photo from the same event Alan photographed above; and also this shot after the event which the NYT chose for its “Final Push” slide show.

The defining image, however, has got to be this one from Monday evening’s final campaign event, revealing a tearful candidate simultaneously celebrating her own voice and the family circle’s new secret weapon.

Last Up: Election Night At Obama Central

((All images © Alan Chin.  Concord, New Hampshire.  January 5, 2007  Used by permission.  linked images: Hillary/Chelsea canvassing:  Brian Snyder/Reuters. Manchester, New Hampshire January 6,2008.  Hillary/Chelsea with college student: Elise Amendola/A.P. Clinton campaign bus. Durham, N.H., January 5, 2008.)

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